Dane Cook – Prolific Comedian and Film Actor

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
July 17th, 2014

Dane Cook is a stand-up comedian and film actor who has earned his place at the top in both fields. Years of dedication and cutting teeth in the harsh world of stand-up comedy has paid off, and today Cook is known as one of the most successful comedians out there. Natural charisma and a commitment to film acting has given him exciting opportunities in multiple successful films. There seems to be no limit to what this Cambridge, Massachusetts, native can do.

Career as a Comedian

In 1994, Dane Cook moved to New York to jump-start his comedy career. After two years, he packed up and headed to Los Angeles, where he found his success. In 1998, he landed a spot on Comedy Central's "Premium Blend," which catapulted him into the world of professional comedy. Two years later, he was invited to perform a half-hour special on "Comedy Central Presents," further securing his place as an up-and-coming talent to keep an eye on.

In 2003, Cook made it possible for fans worldwide to enjoy his act, releasing a CD/DVD combo, "Harmful if Swallowed," on Comedy Central Records. The DVD contains his Comedy Central performances, and today that album is certified platinum – a monumental achievement for any comedian or musician. In 2005, Cook released his sophomore album, "Retaliation." At this point, Cook was a household name, so "Retaliation" skyrocketed to double-platinum status, and Cook found himself on the Billboard Charts at #4 – the first time a comedian held that position in 29 years. Following this phenomenal success, Cook was invited to join Snoop Dogg on stage at the MTV Music Video Awards, where they presented the award for Best New Artist.

2005 was a busy year for Cook. After releasing a wildly successful album, he performed his first special for HBO, "Vicious Circle," at the TD Garden in Boston. He then journeyed across the country, touring for a month with fellow comedian friends Gary Gulman, Jay Davis and Robert Kelly. The tour, "Tourgasm," spanned 20 shows at college campuses across the nation.

Cook was invited to join Dave Attell's "Insomniac Tour" in 2006, the same year he was also asked to host the Teen Choice Awards with Jessica Simpson, where he later won the prestigious Best Comedian Award. A year later, in 2007, Cook became the second comedian to sell out New York City's Madison Square Garden, performing not just one, but two, sold-out shows in the same night – one which eventually became his third CD/DVD, "Rough Around the Edges." Cook took home the Big Entertainer Award at the VH1 Big in '06 Awards, and then won Hot Comic of the Year from "Rolling Stone" magazine.

Cook's fourth album, "Isolated Incident," came out in 2009, which was footage from a performance at the legendary Laugh Factory comedy club in Hollywood. This was a unique release because it was shot in one continuous take, with no edits. This release debuted at  number four on the Billboard 200. This fourth album completed Cook's contract with Comedy Central Records.

Career as a Film Actor

Dane Cook proved time and again that he was much more than just a stand-up comedian. This Hollywood star has the goods to play leading and supporting roles in numerous blockbusters. His acting career started in the 1990s in a few small roles. However, it was in 2006 that Cook got his major movie break, playing the lead role in "Employee of the Month," with co-stars Dax Shepard and Jessica Simpson. On its opening weekend, "Employee of the Month" grossed nearly $12 million dollars, which was, coincidentally, the film's budget.

Cook took on his first serious role as Mr. Smith in "Mr. Brooks," acting alongside Hollywood legend Kevin Costner. The film hit number four at the box office, further sealing Cook's reputation as a comedian-turned-Hollywood-actor. Alongside Jessica Alba and Dan Fogler, Cook starred in "Good Luck Chuck" in 2007. On its opening weekend, this wildly successful film was the top grossing comedy film at the box office, and the second highest overall.

Later in 2007, Dane Cook worked alongside Steve Carell in "Dan In Real Life," a heartfelt comedy-drama that was widely acclaimed by cinema fans and critics alike. Cook starred in "My Best Friend's Girl" in 2008, alongside the talented Alec Baldwin, Jason Biggs and Kate Hudson. In 2013, Cook showed his voice-acting skills in the animated flick, "Planes," which is a spin-off of the Pixar franchise, "Cars."

Dane Cook has been part of many projects, playing leading and supporting roles. His tireless work ethic in the stand-up comedy scene is certainly admirable, and his success is undoubtedly well-deserved. As a Hollywood leading actor, a charismatic on-stage comedian, a voice actor and so much more, Cook just keeps succeeding. There is no doubt that the future is only going to keep getting brighter for this Hollywood staple.

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